Debate! Debate! 5
Iraq: Immediate withdrawal or something phased and uncertain?
Clinton wants to leave but says we have to stay to help people who sided with us - "as many as we can".
Obama: It is important for us to be as careful getting out as we were careful getting in. Uses the question to move around the world and talk about threats... I don't want to just end the war, I want to end the mindset that got us into the war in the first place.
Clinton comes back with some ruminations about other Middle Eastern countries and then invokes Bush.
Clearly, a status quo campaign is better for her. Acting friendly to Obama works for her.
Clinton kind of admits she screwed up in voting to give Bush authority to invade. She's desperately trying to transition from admitting a mistake into a statement of the lessons she learned.
Obama: Iraq wasn't just a problem of execution. It was a conceptually flawed mission from the start. He's making the case about judgment. He ought to hit that several more times.
Wolf Blitzer asks Clinton why she can't admit the vote was a mistake.
Clinton may be finding her rabbit hole. Trying to explain how she believes in coercive diplomacy. Not a slogan I'd want my candidate to use at this point in the campaign... "But if I'd been president this wouldn't have happened." Again, not a great argument, but she has to say something.
Wolf Blitzer: So you're saying you were naive about President Bush?
Clinton comes back with a "nice try, Wolf." But, really, isn't that what she said?
Obama she has the experience on Day One, but you have to be right on Day One. That's the theme he needs. But he looses it in a hazy conclusion. Learn to stop when you're ahead.